For kids and parents alike, school holiday time is all about freedom. Freedom from rules and routines. Freedom the tyranny of the clock and the uniform and the packed school lunch.
But all that intoxicating freedom can create new worries - especially if digital distractions become kids’ default mode.
Screen-time has a place when it comes to school holiday fun. But throwing all the rules out with last term’s dirty gym socks is nobody’s idea of a good time.
Our children love their games and apps dearly - so much so that RL (aka “real life”) can get lost in the shuffle. It’s challenging to ensure digital balance while still keeping the atmosphere at home fair and festive.
Family Zone cyber expert and clinical psychologist Jordan Foster of ySafe understands this better than anyone. That's why she's created a digital contract especially tailored for the school holiday use.
“The whole idea of a contract is to get parents and children on the same page - literally - to prevent arguments about holiday screen-time before they have a chance to happen,” Foster explains.
Worried that your kids will complain “there’s nothing to do!” or “I’m bored!” when screen-time is limited? Foster has an ingenious solution - and it’s built right into the agreement.
But make no mistake - the holiday contract is a two-way deal. Mums and dads are also required to abide by certain restrictions - including the pledge to reward good digital behaviour in a tangible way.
“Consider the contract a jumping off point for conversation,” Foster urges - and feel free to modify the terms of the agreement to suit your family’s needs and values.
Then, once you’ve reached a negotiated settlement, get all the stakeholders to sign on.
“I’m not saying a written contract will solve every issue for today’s digital parents - but it can provide an invaluable reference point, while making your expectations crystal clear.”
Here at Family Zone, we’re all about helping children stay safe, sensible and balanced online. But we never forget the having fun part - and we hope you don’t either. Enjoy these holidays with your family!